Precision MicroFab™ was contacted by the Heliophysics Science Division from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center to develop a complex hole array drilled into a domed surface. The Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation’s largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.
They wanted to fabricate two types of Quantar Arrays that comprised an Inner and an Outer Grid. The complex grids had 250 lines per inch mesh in four sections of each hemisphere. The final product had to be made out of a special material and had to be able to survive a launch via a sounding rocket. The material chosen for the job was a Nickel-Cobalt alloy due to its high strength and great durability. It is twice as hard as plain Nickel and has a 50% higher tensile strength, a greater modulus of elasticity, and matches stainless steel in mechanical properties and corrosion resistance.
Grid Sets were to be fabricated into the top of a dome and holes cut into the outside flange. The geodesic design was 3D laser machined into designated window areas into the 0.002 inch thick material. The mounting screw holes will also be laser machined and accommodate a temperature variation of ± 50°C.
Each one of the four windows was made up of over 4,000 individual laser drilled holes with a diameter of 0.0004 inches each or 10.160 µm.